Hengitä.hankala hengittää slides, Artivistic Festival Montreal
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- CC0 1.0 Universal
- agryfp, 2007, Happihuone, hengitä, Töölönlahti, Helsinki, Artivistic Festival, Montreal, urban activism, storytelling, grassroots cultural centres, purkupäivät, upcycling, Finno-Ugric Culture, sauna, Kalevala, glasshouse, self-organisation, Finland, residency
This entry shares the presentation slides made by Andrew Gryf Paterson, at Artivisitic Festival in Montreal, Canada, on 27.10.2007.
More info about programme: http://artivistic.pbworks.com/w/page/13836386/Program2007
Audio recording of presentation: https://archive.org/details/agryfp-2007-hengita-audio-artivistic-festival-montreal
The presentation was made in the Festival programme thematic 'occuper quoi? // what is (there) to occupy?', in a show-tell section of the day, where he told a personal story-involvement with Happihuone Cultural Centre, a temporary glasshouse structure that existed on the shore of Töölönlahti in an urban parkland of Helsinki city centre. Happihuone in Finnish language means 'Oxygen Room', and served as a grassroot-organised free arts and recreation space in the very centre of the city until the end of summer season 2007.
Originally constructed as a temporary pavillion from modular strucutes of recycled windows in 2000 by a Swedish-speaking Womans collective for the European City of Culture, the site became known first as Växthuset, it became known to Paterson in the year 2005 when it hosted a summer-long programme of Finno-Ugric cultural events, including learning to silk the Finnish folk-epic Kalevala, regular peat-sauna sessions, as well as ethnofolk exhibitions and performances until the summer season ended in September 2005. It was then that he learned that the glasshouse had a problem with broken window vandalism in the winter half of the year when the space was empty. He proposed a project in collaboration with Simo Haanpää to creatively board up the windows with wood as a participatory arts project and light-art installation for Valon Voimat Light Arts Festival over the winter 2005, which proved successful until the summer season began again. But that was only the start of recycling of the space and the collective 'art-work' at Happihuone.
By summer 2007, the structure made of recycled windowframes and moduler wooden structure that was given license to exist on a yearly basis, became precious and under threat. On this occasion Paterson proposed to make a 1-week residency (10-18.07.2007) occupying the boarded-up structure (that was becoming a utilised sleeping place of the city's non-residential dwellers, homeless and international migrants), essentially to occupy the space for one last time and gather stories of the cultural centre's treasured persons and friends (currently at the time of this archival deposit those stories have never been shared publically).
After a long and eventually weary existence of maintainance in it's later years, Happihuone was, with heavy-heart, dismantled by association and friends of the place, following a final demand from Helsinki City Urban Planning and Services department to end the activity, or face a fine for the clearing costs from the city, in October 2007. The end and last event of Happihuone was called 'Purkupäivät' (demolition days) 13-14.10.2007 and actual demolition between 15-22.10.2007. The message and spirit of the occasion was upbeat, with upcycling or recycling references remembering the younger years of the structure which hosted many eco-art and design events, and encouraging people to come and take some of the 'oxygen room' home.
Hence, the end of Happihuone was just a week before Paterson travelled to the Artivistic Festival, where he also told the story of it's last summer of existence.
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